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Thursday, 7 August 1902

Mr CAMERON (Tasmania) - The honorable member for Melbourne Ports has stated that there are no combines between the candle manufacturers of Victoria. If that be so, will the honorable member explain how it is that they all chai-ge the same price for the article1? If there is no combine, what is the explanation 1 It is an arrangement for mutual profit at all events. It is rather curious for a free-trader to support a duty for the benefit of manufacturers, but I am not supporting the interests of the larger manufacturers on this occasion, but those of two or three of the smaller candlemakers. I desire to point out the injustice that the original proposal of the Government in regard to stearine will inflict upon them. In Tasmania, before this Tariff came into force, there was no duty upon stearine. The article could be landed there for £35 pelton ; but now, owing to the duty, the cost is £45 per ton. In fact, the duty has actually prohibited the smaller manufacturers from importing stearine. A Tasmanian manufacturer, Mr. Evans, landed a cargo a few days after the Tariff came into operation, and was obliged to send it out again, because he could not pay the duty and compete with . the Victorian manufacturers. Under the circumstances, I urge the committee to do an act of justice to the smaller manufacturers, who cannot live if the higher duty is imposed. If the smaller manufacturers go to the wall, the larger ones will have the whole of the business in their own hands. As the labour party have distinctly said that they are opposed to monopolies, they ought to support the Opposition on this occasion, and agree to the duty requested by the Senate.

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